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Traffic and Safety: Tools of the Traffic Trade

July 17, 2023 03:00 PM
By: Zachary Appleby

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​Last week, PennDOT’s Bureau of Innovations hosted the second webinar of its 2023 Innovation in Motion webinar series titled Tools of the Traffic Trade, which focused on the next generation of online tools to improve work zone safety and traffic incident management. 

Presenters included Ryan McNary, chief of the Traffic Operations and TSMO Performance Section in PennDOT's Bureau of Operations, and Scott Benedict, senior traffic control specialist in PennDOT's Bureau of Operations to discuss the status and benefits of traffic safety tools and initiatives. 


During his presentation, McNary provided an overview of the pilot Lane Reservation System, and its potential impact on the more than 4,000 miles of core roadway network. The Lane Reservation System will consider historical congestion and capacity levels to allow construction and lane closures to be scheduled with a holistic view of its impact on traffic, capacity, and congestion. Data on upcoming lane closures can then be used to alert drivers of impending congestion.

Later, McNary shared updates on two Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts (EDC) Round 6 innovations – Crowdsourcing for Advancing Operations and Next Generation Traffic Incident Management (TIM): Integrating Technology, Data, and Training, which include efforts to increase crowdsourced data collection to better feed PennDOT’s Incident Management System. The technology pulls together the speeds and incidents from a subset of vehicles on a given segment of roadway to provide real-time information, enabling PennDOT to create travel time messaging and increase roadway situational awareness. Additionally, virtual queue protection delivers automated messaging to drivers approaching congestion and construction, by using INRIX crowdsourced data to dynamically calculate how far ahead traffic is stopped or slowed down. Virtual queue protection helps decrease crashes in select corridors.

PennDOT also entered into an agreement with the Maryland Department of Transportation to use a web-based video sharing platform called MView. The platform provides access to a network of more than 15,000 camera feeds in several states to municipalities for free, allowing partners to have better situational awareness when incidents occur.

During his presentation, Benedict discussed the benefits of utilizing available Trip Path Data from the Regional Integrated Transportation Information System (RITIS). Trip Path Data included origin and destination data sets collected from vehicles to inform planning. This anonymized data is available statewide, requires no manual collection, and can be used to analyze the impact on traffic caused by specific events in hindsight, such as the I-95 bridge collapse in June, to better inform future needs. 

To watch the full webinar, click here.

More information on Traffic Incident Management can be found on the FHWA website.

More information on Lane Reservation System is available on PennDOT's website.

More information on The Eastern Transportion Coalition is located at

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